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Writing Tips

Discussion in 'Creative Discussion' started by Sem, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    Throwing this thread up again.

    What is it for? WELL. I think it'd be a good idea for the writers of Charms to be able to collaborate and talk with each other. Sharing experiences and sharing skills with less experienced writers.

    Also I will be putting up some good guidelines for new writers to follow to help them along in their literary journeys; since I am the best writer in Charms |D *coughs* Hardly >_> But I'll go as far as to say that I'm fairly decent. xP And of course tips from other writers are certainly welcome, and will be added into this main post if deemed needed.

    The Charms' Crash Course Guide for a Good Fic:

    1. Your plot.

    Plot, plot, plot. It is the most essential part of any story, for without a good plot, how is it to attract any attention?

    Plots can be fun things at first. You get a burst of inspiration and you go all @_____________@ and start writing. You're excited, you're pumped. It's sometimes all you can think about and you're twitchy whenever you're not doing something related to writing. You're posting, waiting impatiently for those replies. Getting all happy inside over the good comments and sorta meh-I'll-work-on-it over the critical ones, or pull a flat out, "Screw you, skank-bag." in your head as you read it.

    Anyway, you go good like this for a while, furthering your story around. Some of the initial excitement goes down and you think about your fic in a leisurely manner. And slooooooowly it declines until you're looking at it like =| The passion's been hideously murdered and you suddenly think your story's a piece of reeking dinosaur-cack. And then you abandon it, hide it under a rug, and feel bad thinking you're no good a writer.

    Well guess what? You're right! =D Wait... oops. >->;

    ...

    NO.

    YOU WERE WRONG.

    Plots are the hardest thing to get straight. Most of the time we get the vision of some superspecialawesome ending and then a beginning as your launch pad. Sadly, we usually lack what it takes to bring us from point A, the start, to point B, the end. We're missing the middle.

    See plots, take some careful planning usually. You can't just rush off writing as soon as you get an idea. You'll be so busy running full speed, looking at the horizon, that you won't see what you have to go through to even get there. So you will trip, fall on your face, roll over a cliff, into a river, over a waterfall, wash-up on some god-forsaken piece of rocky land, and have head bashed open by some kid with a rock and your brainz consumed by some unattractive and smelly beast while your body is slowly being eaten by some nasty lake-creature and you drown. And then you die. Yes you frickin' die. And it was all your fault because you're such an obscene failure. Gods. >>

    ...

    You can avoid this by planning. =D Sitting down and going, "Ok, I can has an idea, but I need to know how I'm going to get there." You can do this aaaanyway you want, writing out an outline, doing something visual, ect. Know your story before you write it and the hard part's over. Sorta. Also, know the world in which your world is set too. Know as much as you can about it. From the major things to really silly things. And know your characters. Know what they look like, know how they act, know their pasts, their skills, ect. I sometimes do this by setting up little profiles for my characters.

    Name
    Age
    Sex
    Height
    Weight
    Personality
    History
    ect...

    Anyway. Like I said. Know your story before you rush off like headless chicken. Outlines. Charts. Whatever works.


    2. Your writing.

    K. How you write makes or breaks your story.

    Even if you have the most amazing plot ever conceived, if u type liek this whith crapy spelign and no grammer ur fic wil never be raed. Srsly. No one will pay any attention to it, and God will hate you. =)

    PLEASE. Please ;_; OH GODS, PLEASE... Write in English. D: Spell words correctly, know what a sentence is, use commas, use periods/dots/points/whateveryouwanttocallthem.

    NOTE: While spelling is awesome, don't think that you can't use slang in character dialogue or narration, since how a person talks can very much bring them alive.

    ALSO NOTE: Typos are fine. Don't freak out over them. You could spell check and proof read your chapters twice before posting and there will still most likely be a typo or two somewhere. Don't fret. They'll usually be pointed out to you by your readers, and know everyone makes mistakes. I'm sure you've seen books with typos in them. So chill. (Is sure he'll find plenty in this big-arse post for months to come)

    Use paragraphs. Because if you type without making any paragraphs at all, your readers will be sitting looking at an ungodly wall of text, and will click the Back button before they even see the first word. And they will write mean things about you. =( Or I will, anyway.

    Now paragraphs can be funny things, and it can be confusing to know when you should start a new one.

    One thing you should always do is make a new paragraph whenever a different person starts speaking.

    "So, liek, do you, liek, yeah?" Bob asked. "Oh, ttly, liek yeah, you know what I, liek, mean?" Bobbette replied.

    No.

    "So, liek, do you, liek, yeah?" Bob asked.

    "Oh, ttly, liek yeah, you know what I, liek, mean?" Bobbette replied.


    Yes. Because, if you keep doing that in the same paragraph, it can get VERY confusing as to who is saying what. Now, real professional paragraphing looks like this:

    "So, liek, do you, liek, yeah?" Bob asked.
    "Oh, ttly, liek yeah, you know what I, liek, mean?" Bobbette replied.


    Professionally, there are only spaces between paragraphs when a length of time has passed, and new paragraphs are indented to mark the start of a new one. However, on this forum we space each paragraph and typically mark a passage of time with an extra hit of the Enter key or a line.

    -------

    I use seven dashes to mark a passage of time in my stories. But other people do ~*~*~*~ or _____________, ect... whatever works.

    As for the other times to start a new paragraph. Really it's sorta up to you. Paragraphs can be super short one liners or they can be pretty long. It's something you get the hang of as you progress your writing talent.

    So where were we... spelling, grammar, paragraphs. That's it for structure, but there's more to that. There's also the dreaded details. Usually we find ourselves not using enough, (sometimes too much.)

    God is in the details.

    Your story depends on your ability to write, but not only in spelling, grammar. Details are what bring your story to life. They're what makes it real to everyone else. Details are what put the images in your reader's heads. Using them well means you can allow your readers to see your story exactly like you want them to.

    "Use Flamethrower, Growlithe!" the trainer ordered. His Growlithe nodded and shot flames at its enemy.

    "Block it with Protect, Bellsprout!" the other trainer said. Bellsprout obeyed the command and blocked the attack.


    :| No. You're doing it wrong.

    "Growlithe, get that plant with a good ol' Flamethrower!" the trainer commanded haughtily as he looked condescendingly upon the foe with passionate eyes, confident that the match would be his in no time. The Growlithe barked in reply, the fluffy hair on its body stood on end as the dog-Pokémon blew forth a blazing hot line of fire from its maw.

    "Hmph, it won't be that easy!" The second trainer said with a grin, brushing a hand through his semi-long hair as he told his Bellsprout to use Protect. The thin grass-type reacted quickly, thrusting its own roots into the ground and calling up dozens more of all sizes. The vines formed themselves into a thick wall directly between the flower Pokémon and the incoming attack.

    The vines took the hit of the super-effective attack, leaving Bellsprout with enough time to counter the attack. "Follow it up with Acid," the Bellsprout's trainer smirked. The Grass-type dashed around its burning wall of roots, mouth gurgling with a purple liquid. It vomited the substance through the air, catching the canine off guard. The acid landed on the Growlithe's back and began sizzling at once, causing the fire-type to howl in pain.


    That's much more fun to read. It's easier to imagine what's going on in the second version than it the first, which leaves it wide open. You'll also notice that my Protect was pretty different. Don't be afraid to think out of the box.

    Attacks don't have to be exactly how you see them in the anime or the games. I personally don't like to think that any Pokémon can throw up a big green ball of energy for a shield. You may think that it's fine and that's ok. Pokémon certainly have a magical aspect to them. I personally like to be more creative than that though.

    Other things about details.

    Good to know are three W's. Who, Where, and When.

    Who? Who's around? Is it just your character all by themselves? Are they in a crowd? Is there someone off in the distance? Make sure everyone is accounted for.

    Where? Where is your current setting? What city, what country, what region, what planet. What's it like. Trees? Plants? Busy city? How's the weather? Is it hot? Cold? Rainy?

    When? Present? Past? Future? What time is it?

    Keep a note of those as you go through your writing. Also you should incorporate these into the Where.

    Sight, touch, smell, hearing, taste.

    You have five senses, and so should your characters. What do they see? What do they hear? What can they smell? What's that object feel like? What does that pigeon-spotted cement taste like? ... Ok no. But yeah XD you get the idea.

    Also make sure that you're conveying your characters thoughts and feelings. You have feelings and so should they.


    3. Comments and criticism.

    Ooooh, the much wanted comments and the detestable criticism.

    Don't give up if there're no comments for starters. That's silly. I'm sure you'd love to know what people think of your amazing story, but don't stop when you don't get any feedback. Half the fun of writing is finishing the story yourself and knowing you did it.

    Don't lose heart at criticism, even if it seems harsh. You can determine for yourself whether or not to listen to it. You can accept that they're right on what they're saying and decide you'll work on improving that area, or you could totally disagree with them and keep doing what you're doing, but be smart about it and know that you're not perfect.

    Don't let good comments get to your head, or it'll blow up with pride and you'll float high up into the air until being killed by a jet plane. ^______^ Or if you're really unlucky, you'll simply deflate and you'll fall into a river at the bottom of a canyon and go over a waterfall, wash-up on some god-forsaken piece of rocky land, and have head bashed open by some kid with a rock, and your brainz consumed by some unattractive and smelly beast while your body is slowly being eaten by some nasty lake-creature and you drown. And then you die. Yes you frickin' die. And it was all your fault because you're such an obsce-

    ...

    Anyway.

    Yeah, comments. That's about it on those.


    4. Inspiration.

    Inspiration, it's how all stories start. It's also how they keep going and the source of your ideas.

    Inspiration comes from everywhere. Movies, TV, video games, music, art, people, other stories/books, dreams, nature (pfft), ect...

    Good way to keep yourself fresh and moving is to immerse yourself in inspiration. Things that'll get your mind moving. It's also a way to bash through pesky writer's blocks.

    If you're writing some action-packed fic it's a good idea to keep yourself immersed in corresponding inspiration. Action movies, suspenseful books, stuff like that.

    ANGRY NOTE >:0 There's a difference between using something as inspiration and downright stealing it. That's called plagiarism, and it's a bannable offense here on Charms. If there's a new movie out about a guy with a gun, taken by force from his wife and kids and spends the rest of the movie kicking-arse and running away from explosions in slow-mo to get back to them, and then I see a fic by you about a guy with a gun, taken by force from his wife and kids and spends the rest of the movie kicking-arse and running away from explosions in slow-mo to get back to them.... yeah, you're getting banned.

    5. Your characters.

    Name: Vincent Von Violta
    Race: Vampire
    Sex: Male
    Age: 43893
    Height: 6' 6"
    Weight: 130
    Appearance: Pure white skin, deepest black hair that is semi-long. Red eyes that can change color based on mood. Black trench coat, black leather boots. Black pants. Is super attractive and has fangirls. "OH, EDWA-... I mean. OH, VINCENT!~"
    Personality: Cold, prone to anger. Super smart and wise. Can be violent, but totally loyal to friends.
    Abilities: Immortal/quick healing. Blinding reflexes, beast-like strength and inhuman speed. Knows all forms of martial arts and knows how to use many weapons. Can turn invisible, fly, transform. Shines in sunlight.
    History: Orphaned at birth because of a werewolf attack. Was saved when a coven came to kill the werewolf. Was adopted by the vampires and was turned into one. Trained super-hard his whole life to be the best and to hunt down werewolves because they killed his wife too. Has a big reputation in the vampire world and is respected by many and hated by a few of the noble clans. Currently a free-lancer, takes on jobs that require his amazing skills.

    K. Sounds cool right? Mm-hm, mm-hm. *nods*

    ...

    WRONG.

    WHAT? D: BUT HE'S SO COOL.

    Nope, he's not. He's too much of a Gary Stu. What's a Gary Stu? The male equivalent of a Mary Sue. Who's she? She is the person who's perfect in every imaginable way. Gary’s her brother… with a different last name, shut up D:

    See, none of us are perfect. And if none of us are perfect, how the heck are we supposed to relate to someone who is? We can't. We can't really understand the character well enough because of how perfect they are. There's nothing to relate to, making the character stale really fast.

    So while tempting, god-like characters such as these are usually not the best thing to have, not right off the bat anyway. And I'm not saying that having them is a huge nono; I have my share of over-powered characters, which a few of you very well know :p But there's a difference between over-powered and perfect.

    See, any good character is someone who causes the reader to have an emotional reaction to. "Oh gods! D: NO! DON'T DO THAT!" or "Don't cry! (hugs)" or "AHAHAHA ILU, INSERTCHARACTERNAMEHERE" Doesn't always have to be good either. The reader could boil with rage at one of your characters. Some characters you love to hate, ect.

    Any, any, sort of emotional reaction causes the reader to see the character as a person instead of words. They feel something for them, humanizing them. This is hard to do if a character is a god.

    Now, this also can make it more difficult to make a character; Someone who you are pleased with as well as someone who the readers will like/dislike.

    An easy way to do this is to perhaps base them off of yourself. This could be personality-wise, appearance-wise, or both. They're a bit easier to write for because all you have to do is ask yourself what you would do in whatever situation they're in.

    Other ways are to base characters off of people you know, which is pretty common. A friend, a sibling, a parent, a teacher, ect.

    A third way is to base them off an existing character. This character could be from a tv show, cartoon, movie, book, or even another fic. This ties into inspiration/plagiarism, so be careful.

    Lastly is for you to create a completely new person from scratch which isn't quite so easy.

    Also good is to make sure your characters have some diversity. Variety is the spice of life, and if all your characters are liek, frickin' the same, your fic gets pretty bland.

    Careful planning and thought make your characters three dimensional, and whatever you're drawing them from, it's good to spend some time on them. Characters are the meat and cheese of your fic, and the better they taste and go together, the better off your fic is.

    In short. Down to earth characters that can be felt for like actual people is what you need.

    Click here to take a test that can help you determine if your character is a Mary or a Gary.
    -------

    That's it for now, I got the basics I think. Basically, just keep working on whatever it is you're working on. If it doesn't work out, don't be afraid to ditch it and work on something new.

    One last thing. If you like writing then you better have a good appetite for reading :p Reading books and other fics are a great way to improve your skill.
    Feel free to post questions about writing here, though please don't post here asking people to read your fic. Anything like that will result in a warning.

    If you post a question I will be happy to answer it to the best of my ability. This isn't just for me, though: anyone should feel free to pop in with an answer to a question, or a tip or two to share. We have some nice writers here so I'm sure you'll get some sort of answer you're happy with.

    Anyway, go forth and... ask questions and stuff... and discuss... :|
     
    #1 Sem, Jun 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  2. Sem, you already said it, but I do have something else to add:

    If you want to be a writer, the absolute BEST thing you can do is read. Read everything. Read magazines, newspapers, journals, stories, fics, books, plays, etc. Read all sorts of genres. Break out of your comfort zone. Normally read Harry Potter and Twilight? Read some "realistic fiction". Never read a classic book? Do yourself a favor, read one. They're classics for a reason, y'know.

    And another, smaller thing. It's not the easiest to do with fics, because they're generally shorter, but, don't be afraid to get a little symbolic. A metaphor here, a simile there, a deeper meaning thrown in that the reader has to discover. One of the most satisfying things for me (when I read, anyway) is when I notice some sort of symbolism. I'm not saying go so overboard on symbolism and metaphors that people think they're reading Revelation or anything. But a bit can be a nice touch.

    I don't feel totally comfortable about posting this...but I figured I could be of some help >>;;
     
  3. I agree with Cody about the symbolism. It's seen a lot in classical novels (read, not classics, but classicals which might also be classics, such as Les Miserables) that the author makes references and metaphor to works or mythologies that have preceded them so as to give a deeper meaning, without having to over-write anything. Over-writing is a frustrating and annoying practice, both for the reader who has to read it, and the writer who has to read and write it.

    When it comes to reading, also read around what you want to do, it can help. And don't be afraid to use Google and/or Wikipedia for help, I do it all the time.

    Inspiration can come from the strangest of places, bear in mind, and it's never something that should be forced. Think of writing as making a souffle - if you push it too much, you get an ugly looking mush of questionable edibility.
     
  4. The best thing you can do to improve your writing is to write. (SAY WHAT.) Well, that and to read everything, anything, as much as you can. You won't see improvement if you just make the same mistakes over and over.

    If you're serious about becoming a professional writer, one thing you absolutely cannot do is wait for inspiration to hit. If you're writing for fun, you can get away with writing when you feel like it, but if you have a deadline or a commitment, you will just have to sit down, start writing and muscle through whatever ennui is preventing you from continuing. (Which isn't to say you're not allowed to not feel like writing-- sometimes you just can't, and need to step away from the computer or notebook.) Writing is actually the best way to get inspired and feel like writing, strangely enough.

    Anything you write is good practice. Essays, blog posts, RP entries, fanfic: it's all good. Spread that brainmeat on the page.

    I also noticed that you guys have a Mary Sue litmus test, which is nice, but ultimately only effective at catching the most egregious Sues. I'm irked that the low scores declare that the character in question is not a Sue. Just because you design your character not to set off the obvious red flags in a litmus test doesn't mean that it isn't a Sue. A Mary Sue isn't actually about the awesomeness or legendaries or supercool powers or whatever, it's about the writer's attitude.

    A Mary Sue is an idealized character who acts as the realization of a wish-fulfillment fantasy of the author, and whose growth and development as a character is constrained by said fantasies. However, this is not actually necessarily bad. Many Mary Sues are wildly popular if they can serve as the fantasies of others, e.g. Twilight.

    And it's not BAD that you wrote a Mary Sue. I have folders full of them. Every character I wrote from 1999 to about 2006 was a Mary Sue. (I like to think I've grown out of them, but no one's perfect.) Some of them were better disguised than others. Other people CAN enjoy your Mary Sue, especially if you're in an RP and you write well and you're not OBNOXIOUS.

    Where Mary Sues get bad is where they get obnoxious. If you write a really honest self-insert story, it may actually work well if you accurately depict your strengths and weaknesses. But if you keep your Sue out of trouble and avoid conflicts and prevent them from actually making any real sacrifices for their increases in power or ability, this becomes irksome and annoying. To some readers, anyway-- other readers might not mind, and love your story anyway.

    So don't put a bunch of work into dodging the litmus test; instead put that work into changing your attitude about your characters. It's okay if you write a wish-fulfillmenty 'fic that's just masturbatory and awful if that's what you want to write, but if you post it in a public forum, be prepared for less-than-glowing comments. Consider your audience before you post. Do they want to read something exciting and well-plotted and well-crafted, or do they want to read about your personal character being sooooooo great and sooooo good and never grow in any way?

    The above is probably slightly more advanced advice, I'm sure there are aspiring writers on this board who are still at the level where they're struggling with not giving their Mary Sue trainer a legendary for a starter. ^_^ Just relax and practice; you're not going to write a masterpiece as a young teen, but do us all a favor and try not to be obnoxious.

    Edited to add: Oh yeah, and some other things I've noticed as a common problem--

    Dialogue is written as

    "Hello," he said.

    NOT

    "Hello." He said.

    BUT

    "Hello," he smiled.

    isn't really correct, either-- it would be more accurate to write

    "Hello," he said, smiling.

    (how do you smile the word "hello", anyway?)

    OR POSSIBLY

    "Hello." He smiled.

    In this case there are two sentences, the speech and then the action. Keep in mind this distinction.

    Likewise, don't be afraid to use "said". Said is invisible. When you have a big list of "he stated, she quoted, it quipped, she shouted, he gasped", that is noticeable. When you notice something, you get thrown out of the story. Use these other dialogue tags when it is appropriate to do so. A bunch of "saids" is boring, but the other extreme is no good either.

    And finally, don't abuse adverbs. You should treat an adverb as a strong spice, to be used sparingly. I usually see them abused in dialogue, e.g. going down the page with "He said loudly, she said brightly, it said hysterically". Mix up your descriptors a bit, say, "He said loudly-- she said, with a hysterical note in her voice-- it said, commanding".
     
  5. I have quite a few things to say. Fan fiction is quite popular around the interwebs and I just want to make some things quite clear.

    Out-of-character-ness.
    What is it, you say? It’s when you take a canon (Original story character) character and changing their personality. For all you Twilight fans out there, it’s like taking Bella and making her graceful and confident, making her more of a Sue than she already is. Oh, Sue’s, they’re next. NONE OF IT IS ALLOWED.
    Mary Sue’s/Gary Stu’s
    Example of a Mary Sue:
    Deliana Petunia Lakemont, the most popular, prettiest girl in school whose parent’s died when she was tree and she had to live with her evil aunt and uncle. She is so smart, that she gets A’s in every class and knows how to drive at 13. Or, Bella Swan. KILLHER WITH FIRE!!!! Why? She’s absolutely perfect. Everyone has flaws and if they don’t then they are a Sue. A Stu is the male equivalent. KILL THEM WITH FIRE.
    Pairings.
    Love. It’s a fragile thing. And bad writers are breaking it into a million pieces. You should pair people up with who the author wants them to be paired with. And if they don’t have a love interest, you have to think how the character would react to love. Do not make them out of character. An if it’s a OC/OC pairing, go crazy. Just don’t make it too gushy. And canon pairings, make them EXACTLY like it is in the book. Like, in PJO, Percy and Annabeth are dating, but they aren’t too serious. They kiss and hug occasionally, but they don’t always call each other their nicknames and go on dates. They’re too busy fighting monsters and fighting each other.
    That is all I’ve got for now, so peace out and happy writing!
     
  6. Linkachu

    Linkachu Hero of Pizza
    Staff Member Administrator

    Oo. I'm definitely at fault for both of these. Although, something I question are phrases akin to "____ said with a smile" or "____ said with a frown", etc. Is it truly grammatically incorrect to not include the extra comma? I'm fairly sure I've seen it done in many professional pieces of writing, so it's a technique I pretty much adopted myself... =o

    Also, just something I want to add that Sem may or may not have hit on (I honestly only skimmed his post XD): People have editors for a reason.

    Many, many people online - both the writers AND the readers - have a hard time getting passed certain errors such as grammar misuse, typos, and problems with sentance structure (and admittedly, I'm one of them). Thing is, that's what editors are paid to do. Heck, that's why they exist at all. People aren't perfect, and sometimes we overlook very noticable errors and redundancies - whether it be regular people like us or the published authors making big bucks off their books. Having some mistakes like these doesn't make you a horrible writer. It makes you human :p (Oh, teh horror!)
     
  7. On Katie's note if you don't have an editor do attempt to re-read what you have written some time after you've finished writing it. I say have a time delay, as if you have just written it the sentance is fresh in your mind and it's possible you'll just skim. I find it helps to have a physically written copy of what Im writing, as the process of typing it up often leads to me making changes to sentance-and-paragraph structure.
     
  8. In my opinion, following those daydreams one has while doing nothing or trying to fall asleep are excellent places to take ideas from. I have come up with many ideas from those, some good, some not. Try writing down the ones you think are passable for a story idea.
     
  9. Hahaha, adverbs are my weakness. Those sentences seem fine. I do overuse commas at times. :D
     
  10. Semi-colons are my vital flaw. I do have a hard time breaking the sentences down, or deciding when to fully end one. Sometimes they "next" sentence doesn't seem to work properly as a 'ooh! (sentance)' but needs to be surgically attached to the one before it, so you get 'ooh? (sentence; sentence)'.

    I ♥ ;

    Also, yes, I'm an abuser of "said" - I neglect it. In fact I think a part of me despises the word and I have really no idea why. Perhaps it reminds me too much of younger children's fiction where you have:

    He said
    She said
    He said
    She said
    He said.

    Two person dialogue? I think we can tell when one person is responding thank you very much.
     
  11. I have to question this. Don't get me wrong, this example is certainly better than the "what not to do" example, but the amount of descriptiveness, especially for a fight scene, may impact it negatively.

    This is just my personal experience talking, but effective fight scenes, at least in stories that mean for their battles to be a major attraction (and seeing as one half of Pokemon is about battling them, I imagine a lot of stories would be like that), I find it much better for the amount of descriptiveness to be just enough to let the reader know what's going on, but to limit the amount of relatively minor details given (though don't eliminate them entirely). This makes the battle much more fast-paced.

    To illustrate my point, I'll rewrite the above example in my style (and, just for the fun of it, I'll name the trainers Trainer and Rival):

    "Growlithe, get that plant with a good ol' Flamethrower!" Rival commands, confident of his Pokemon's victory over Trainer's Bellsprout.

    Barking in response, Growlithe opens its mouth and releases a stream of fire that rapidly approaches the Flower Pokemon.

    Aware that his Bellspout won't be able to dodge the flames in time, Trainer snaps, "Quick, Bellspout! Protect!"

    Bellspout thrusts its roots into the ground, and almost instantly, several larger roots pop up in front of it, forming a wall to block the flames, just before they hit, narrowly protecting it from harm.

    "Hmph! It won't be that easy, Rival!"

    "Not bad..."

    Bellspout maneuvers around the flaming wall of roots, clearing the gap between the Fire-type and itself.

    "You won't win just by defending yourself," growls Rival, "Growlithe! Fire Fang!"

    With a mouth filled with intense fire, Growlithe quickly charges at Bellspout.

    "Bellspout! Counter with Acid!" commands Trainer.

    Reacting quickly, a poisonous substance builds up in Bellspout's mouth, and it spits it straight at the Puppy Pokemon.

    "Quick! Dodge it, Growlithe!" cries Rival.

    However, the Acid attack approaches very fast and Growlithe is unable to dodge.

    The substance connects with the Fire-type's face and sizzles. Growlithe rolls on the ground, pawing at the burn on its face.


    Also, the details regarding Trainer and Bellsprout's appearances are unnecessary if they are revealed prior to the battle. Just saying.

    Still, if battles are not a major aspect of the story, and they are meant to be just passing scene, there is no harm in being overly descriptive. It just depends on the story you are trying to write. It's a matter of taste.
     
    #11 Valin, Jul 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  12. Linkachu

    Linkachu Hero of Pizza
    Staff Member Administrator

    Two very good links for writers. First, adding to what Kel said above about the invisibility of "said":

    http://lecatr.people.wm.edu/Keep_Attrib ... rticle.htm

    This article really drills it home why said, if not the absence of attribution entirely, is such a powerful tool and reminds us why these colourful synonyms we've come to abuse (retorted, cried, mumbled, etc.) do nothing but make our writing weaker.

    Moving on... I also wanted to share another website, one I've given to some of my higher leveled students:

    http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/exercises ... /index.htm

    This page pretty much covers everything you need to know about punctuation rules and much, much more. It's a great reference of do's and don'ts for punctuation and will likely help anyone who struggles with the usage of colons, semi-colons, commas, etc. in their writing.
     
  13. Shiny Lyni

    Shiny Lyni 2016 Singles Football

    Maaan, I'm completely guilty of trying to incorporate as many non-"said" words as possible in my dialogues when Iwrite. Too manygrumbled, cried, whispered, and the like, and probably only one use of "said" in an entire chapter/post... ^^;

    Also, from my experience, it also appears okay to just eliminate the word "said" and synonyms thereof whenever there's a long extended dialogue between two people. Still used when the conversation starts to show who spoke first or whatever, but it's rather common to just get rid of it if there's nothing more important than the speaking going on. For me, it makes the exchange seem to flow more easily and naturally. (also, wrote this berore even bothering to click on Katie's link, so apologies if it was mentioned there... XD)

    Also... might be smart to brush up on the differences between your and you're, its and it's, and other similar words. I've seen a few people, even the good writers here, confuse the usage of these words, and ittends to bug me a little. ^^; Though not a biiiig deal at all.

    [/advice from an amateur writer]
     
  14. Teapot

    Teapot Virtual Duck Enthusiast
    Staff Member Administrator

  15. There's just one thing I'm confused about, what does &nbsp mean?
     
  16. Doctor Oak

    Staff Member Overlord

    It's a formatting error caused by importing this VERY old thread. It's the HTML for a space character.
     
  17. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    I'm not sure if it's worth it considering how ancient the bloody thread is, but I fixed the assorted &nsbp; s. This should settle things.
     

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